Nevada restaurants expected to lead U.S. in sales growth in 2005 |

Nevada restaurants expected to lead U.S. in sales growth in 2005


RENO – You may want to call ahead for a dinner reservation in Nevada.

The state’s 6,000 restaurants are again expected to lead the nation with 7.6 percent sales growth in 2005, the National Restaurant Association said Tuesday.

Nevada restaurants are projected to post a record $4.1 billion in sales next year, the group said.

“We’re having a real banner year and that’s expected to grow even more in 2005,” said Van Heffner, president and chief executive officer of the Nevada Restaurant Association based in Las Vegas.

“The industry provides a lot of great jobs, and more important, a lot of great food,” he said.

The industry is projected to generate 149,400 jobs in Nevada in 2005, up 2,400 from this year.

Nevada is on pace to top its projected 7.3 percent sales growth for this year, with 8 percent or 9 percent growth, Heffner said.

Industry officials attribute Nevada’s growth to an increase in tourists and new residents. Nevada continues to be the nation’s fastest growing state.

“I think next year’s (projected 7.6 percent sales growth) is a conservative estimate. I anticipate we will court a double-digit increase,” Heffner said.

Nationwide, the industry is expected to post a record $476 billion in sales in 2005, up 4.9 percent from this year. The mountain region, including Nevada, is expected to lead the way with projected sales growth of 6.5 percent.

Heffner attributes some of restaurants’ rosy outlook to the economy.

“As a whole the nation’s economy is really coming along well,” he said. “Our good friends in California also have been into much more favorable times.”

Americans will spend nearly 47 percent of their food dollars in restaurants in 2005, said Steven C. Anderson, president and CEO of the national association.

“The restaurant industry will serve as a driving force in our nation’s economy by providing jobs to 12.2 million employees and continue providing a social oasis to communities nationwide as it posts its 14th consecutive year of real growth next year,” Anderson said.

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